I started screenprinting in March of 2011, after a trip to Colombia with a friend. We figured making t-shirts for local bands would be easy money, and so we went out and bought a Yudu machine and a bunch of 3oz bottles of ink.
I know, I know. Most of you have probably stopped reading already.
Anyway, we eventually brought on another friend, who had her own Yudu machine (there goes the rest of the readers...), and so we had what we thought was a pretty sweet setup. As long as we were REALLY careful when burning screens, we could do two-colour prints just by removing the platen from the Yudu, shirt still attached, and putting it in the second machine.
We did a few hundred one- and two-colour designs like this, until eventually I came across some free plans for a 4-colour press, courtesy of a guy named Michael Phipps. After constructing the press according to the plans, we added a second platen arm, and a collapsible side table that we could use to lay the shirts on while we cured them.
Then one day, I came across gigposters while trying to find tips on doing a better job of printing on brown paper coffee bags. Learned a lot of shit, build a tiny drying rack for 8.5x11" sheets, and built a vacuum table that now sits on that collapsible curing table. We're printing the first page of our first-ever silkscreened zine this afternoon.
For those who are interested, here's a few pictures of our setup.
One and the same, yep! It's nice, but you need to be REALLY picky about the lumber you use. One of my platen arms has warped since installing it -- it's nothing that a few thin shims jammed into one side can't fix, though.
Because it's all wooden, it's easy to make minor adjustments here and there if things start getting out of shape.
I had a lot of trouble finding a heavy-duty swivel (most are too loose), but I eventually went to a bar and asked if they had any broken stools... the guy was more than happy to give me one!
T-shirtforums has a nice thread on building that press: HERE
There is a tiny bit of give, but you can see in the 4th picture that each guide has some threaded stock going through it, with a wing-nut on each end. Using these, we can tighten the guides as much as we need to in order to keep things registered. Haven't had any problems so far.